Montane Grizedale half marathon

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Sunday 3 February, 08:30

Left home at 03:40 to drive the three hours to this race. On arrival it was -4C and dark. Picked up bib and tshirt and went back to car for breakfast.

Bumped into Tom on the way to the start, I ran a lot of the L50 recce in January with him. He was doing the full 26.2.

Ran with Tom easy pace and he kept the chat going. It was forest trails and not too difficult. Near the start an icy stretch was dicey, one runner fell spectacularly.

I really wasn’t being tested running at the pace Tom needed but there was stunning scenery to enjoy.

I definitely started my watch on the start but 5 miles in I realised it wasn’t tracking.

I’d intended this as an easy long run to familiarise myself with this area; job done.

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:33:53

Pace: 11:45 min/mile

Poolsbrook parkrun

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Saturday 2 February, 09:06

With Hallam parkrun cancelled Sheffield VRs seemed to be split between Poolsbrook and Hillsborough parkruns. Lovely sunny cold winter morning. Great to run with Callum and Jo, and meet up with Karen, Helen and Caroline. Easy pace because my total weekly mileage is high and I’ve got a half marathon tomorrow.

Distance: 5k

Time: official 29:38

training session #1544

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Thursday 24 January, 08:39

Was late getting up but still ran to work. Gingerly on very icy paths though! One Bambi moment on a downhill where I nearly crashed. Heavy backpack with laptop.

Distance: 4.74 miles

Time: 48:19

training session #1540

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Lakeland 50 recce: Ambleside to Coniston

Saturday 19 January, 16:06

The official recce began with a talk on map reading skills, tips and what to expect. Very useful. Then everyone split to get ready, eat and make our way to Coniston to leave vehicles at the finish.

Coaches took us back to Ambleside where we were going to set off. I almost went without my headtorch as I’d left it in car boot. Made a mad dash just seconds before the coach left.

No gun or whistle, just report to checkpoint and set off on arrival in groups or individuals. There were around 260 doing the recce but this spread everyone out nicely.

As soon as I started climbing out of the park there was snow, compacted and slushy. This continued to the end. Deep on the hills.

I navigated using the road book at first, then the wiggly line on my watch. There always seemed to be someone nearby that knew the route if I was in doubt.

Apart from zig zagging up a hill to Blea Tarn, the main challenge was the climb after Tilberthwaite. Steep steps, steep hillside, then further and further uphill, never ending.

It was on this uphill I slipped and banged right knee on a rock underneath the snow. I walked and jogged it off. Then a long steep descent into Coniston.

I ran more than half of the recce with a chap called Tom from Manchester. He’s into triathlon and Ironman so might bump into my brother at Salford Quays perhaps.

Overall, the recce was easier than expected. I’d expected 16 miles of testing terrain but only the last 4 miles was particularly difficult; will feel very tough at the end of the 50!

Distance: 15.2 miles

Time: 3:37:10

Avg pace: 14:19 min/mile

Calories: 1512

Ascent: 2548ft

Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275

Grindleford Gallop trail race

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Saturday 17 March, 10:05

-3C, blowing a gale adding -10 windchill and very heavy snow showers. A 21.2 mile race around the Peak District.

Shivering in the car I wasn’t looking forward to this. I’d put a fleece top in the car for afterwards, but put it on to make sure I ran hot rather than froze on the crags. Good call. I had 2 shirts, a long sleeve top from Decathlon and the New Balance fleece, with my Salomon waterproof jacket on top!

It was a mass start of a few hundred runners with a very narrow step-over bridge 400 yards away. Lots of stiles after made it stop / start for the first few miles, and stiles and gates were dotted throughout the course.

I started fairly easy and just planned to get round without sprawling in either mud or a puddle. Succeeded.

About 5 miles in I noticed we were running the route of a Calver race I did last year but in reverse. The part where I was followed by sheep there were no sheep this time, just a blizzard and my left ear feeling like it was being frozen off!

It’s been a relatively wet winter and this showed with plenty of mud. Even crossing Chatsworth estate the ‘grass’ was sodden muddy ground.

At the third drink station in Baslow I asked for a black coffee. Or tried – my face was frozen. But she understood. Had 2 gels, 500ml water, 1.5 flapjacks and half that coffee during the race.

Climbing from Baslow to Curbar Edge was a lot of straight uphill walking. Then on top it was an apocalyptic scene. Dark sky, snow was horizontal, the wind was blowing hard and towards the edge of the crag. Awful and I remember thinking conditions like this could get the organisers in trouble with plenty of runners struggling.

I knew the Curbar stretch well in reverse, have run it plenty of times. I was run / walking due to fatigue. Right heel niggle as usual.

Overall, pleased to beat the conditions and very happy with my watch time. Official results not out at time of writing but I’ll update this post. Brilliant stewards and helpers throughout. Would be nice to run this in normal and dry spring weather.

Distance: 21.2 miles

Time: 4:12:39

Avg pace: 11:55 min/mile

Calories: 2369

Ascent: 2697ft

Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275

training run #1409

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Sunday 21 January, 07:03

2C, cold, cloudy. A 13 mile run. Didn’t manage to run on Friday due to extremely icy conditions scuppering a run commute. Then snow forecast for today caused the postponement of the Wildest Peaks trail race. So I ran early to avoid the snow and stayed local.

Tried to run easy but stats show my heart rate went higher than expected. Was running with head torch and concentrating on icy paths rather than checking HR on Fitbit.

Carried stuff in a waist belt. Are 1 gel, 1 Clif Bar and drank 250ml water. Noticed heel on and off.

Light snow flurries as I exited Rother Valley and again as I returned through the park, but I did dodge the heavy persistent snow later. Enjoyed this run.

Distance: 13.07 miles

Time: 2:00:21

Avg HR: 153bpm

Avg pace: 9:12 min/mile

Calories: 1401

Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10

Wildlife: 2 rabbits

training run #1403

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Sunday 7 January, 08:09

0C, ice and frost, cold northerly wind. A 9 mile run on the first part of the Exterminator route again.

Another great sunrise as I climbed the first hill.

Sunrise over a cold Sheffield/Totley

Made it all the way up that hill except for sheet ice on the first part of the climb and 5 seconds to take the photo. Improving.

Totley Trig

Totley Trig was bathed in orange sunshine.

Right heel was less of a problem than usual today, less noticeable but there. Had 1 Clif Bar, 1 gel and 300ml water.

While the ground was frozen hard in places, elsewhere I broke through and got wet and muddy feet and ankles. Went slower to dodge my way through or around the worst, and avoid sheet ice in places.

As I returned through Horses Field there were 2 in the field, one of them waiting for something at the lowest part where I have to exit to the road. Friendly, gave its face a stroke.

A horse in Horses Field

Distance: 9.08 miles

Time: 2:11:02

Avg pace: 13:41 min/mile

Calories: 1036

Ascent: 1582ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: sheep and 2 horses